Tuesday, 22 September 2020

100 Truths Tag

100 Truths Tag

I found this tag on Sarah Withers' blog, who got it from Lala's Book Reviews. I couldn't resist giving it a try myself...

Monday, 21 September 2020

Get Real Girl Dolls

Get Real Girl Dolls

Launched in time for Christmas 2000, Get Real Girl offered a serious alternative to the fashion dolls available at the time. The problem was convincing retailers that people would be willing to shell out cold hard cash for that something that wasn't all weddings, princesses, and multiple shades of lipstick. Although they enjoyed strong online sales, relatively speaking, the toy aisle still ruled supreme in the early 2000s. They never really got the support they deserved, and by summer 2003 even their website www.getrealgirl.com was defunct. 

The company was originally co-founded by entrepreneur Michael Cookson, toy designer Juls Chavez  who had already racked up 15 years in the business working for the likes of Galoob and Mattel, and former model Cynthia Aadal. In 2017 Shona Gupta and Michael Cookson ran a kickstarter campaign in an attempt to relaunch the brand:

"We wanted an action figure that empowers girls ages 4-8. We set out to create one that inspires activity, adventure, and diversity for today’s girls. We think girls should always have more and better choices that embody healthy, active lifestyles and positive self-esteem. So we decided to reimagine a series of action figures that encourage girls to be true to themselves and engage with positive, female role models through play.

We’re reinventing the Get Real Girl line (first introduced before its time) for today’s parents and kids: Four action figures from different continents, that play different sports, and have their own passports and their own travel adventures. They have realistic proportions, authentic sports clothes and gear, and are fully-articulated, so the girls can stand on their own two feet and kick a soccer ball or shoot a basket.

...Get Real Girl is about sparking the imagination and engagement in sport through play - an important factor that drives the proven, direct correlation between girls’ participation in sports and better outcomes later in life. We want to promote healthy, active lifestyles and positive self-esteem through our alternative action figures and their stories."

Sadly, it didn't gain enough traction for the kind of investment needed, and then Mattel stomped all over them with the announcement of their new diverse body types and full articulation. If you see them on the secondhand market though they're still well worth picking; the quality and attention to detail is extremely impressive for playline.

The original dolls were designed by Lisa Whitsett - you can check out the original drawings on her Behance.

Get Real Girl Dolls

★ Corey Surfing Adventure - box front / box back.
★ Nini Backpacking Adventure - box front / box back.
★ Nakia Basketball Adventure - box front / box back.
★ Claire Scuba Diving Adventure - box front / box back.
Skylar Snowboarding Adenture - box front / box back.

The first wave of dolls were also sold through Avon in plainer packaging, like so:

Get Real Girl Avon

A number of new dolls were showcased at 2001 toy fairs. There were to be two guys joining the line, surfer Jack and skateboarder Piersin.

Get Real Girl Jack Surfing AdventureGet Real Girl Piersin Skateboarding Adventure

Two new girls would also have joined the line up, skateboarder Zoe and volleyball player Kadin. There were also plans for multiple accessory packs and sports equipment. Unfortunately, only three other dolls actually made it into production:

★ Nini Baseball Adventure - box front / box back.
★ Corey Swimming Adventure - box front / box back.

Get Real Girl Dolls 2001

Get Real Girls Gear Fashion Packs

Four fashion packs were also produced for the line in 2001.

★ Cruisin' Gear - box front / box back.
★ Groovin' Gear - box front / box back.
★ Hangin' Gear - box front / box back.
★ Urban Gear - box front / box back.

Get Real Girl Dolls Promo Image

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Saturday, 19 September 2020

30 Days of What We Do In The Shadows

30 Days of What We Do In The Shadows

We just finished series two of What We Do In The Shadows so what better time to make it the subject of ye olde fandom meme? 

Day #01: First Encounter With This Series

The first series of the TV show was up on iPlayer early this year, so I took a chance on it as the title card put me in mind of The Mighty Boosh and stuff like that. I'm really glad I just clicked it on a whim because if I'd read it was a US remake I probably would have avoided it at all costs. (Who hasn't been scarred for life by accidentally clicking on an American sitcom remake? *shudder*)

What We Do In The Shadows

Day #02: The Moment You Fell In Love With This Series

As soon as Nandor started complaining about the unhygienic nature of leaving half drunk victims about the place. Finicky officious vampires are my kind of thing. 

Nandor the Relentless

Day #03: Favourite Franchise Entry

WWDITS is unusual for me in that I like the whole franchise. Overall, though, I think my favourite has to be the 2014 film. Taika Waititi as Viago is perfection, and I like that their lives are just that little bit more mundane to contrast better with the craziness of the supernatural elements. 

Viago Quote

Day #04: Best Backstory

Nadja rocks. And her backstory is both tragic but also kind of hilarious with its snakes, and its donkeys, and her witch obsession.


Day #05: If You Were In Charge...

We would totally have a British spin-off set in one of the post WW2 'new towns'. Like how could anybody not want to watch a bunch of vampires flatsharing in Milton Keynes?

Milton Keynes

Day #06: Funniest Moment
"I’m doing an erotic dance for my friends. And you ruined it. I was in the zone. My friends were loving it."

What We Do In The Shadows - Deacon

Day #07: Scariest Moment

I'm just gonna leave this here... The only thing worse than a rubbish vampire orgy, is a rubbish vampire orgy with Colin Robinson cornering you to deconstruct the authenticity of random youtube videos.

What We Do In The Shadows Vampire Orgy

Day #08: Saddest Moment

The S2 Nandor/Guillermo break-up. Like, Nandor, you might have slaughtered tens of thousands of innocents, but how dare you make Guillermo cry!?


Day #09: Coolest Character Design

Carol is legitimately the type of vamp who gives kids nightmares.

Carol the Vampire

Day #10: Favourite Quote

Just leave me to do my dark bidding on the internet - design by GloriousWax

"What are you bidding on?"

"A table."

Day #11: Best Costume

Nadja's wardrobe is enough to make any goth jealous!

What We Do In The Shadows - Nadja

Day #12: Petyr or Baron Afanas?

Afanas' character design is awesome, but it's got to be Petyr. I love how he has just been chilling with the rest of them for decades. 

What We Do In The Shadows Petyr

Day #13: Best Song 

Nothing can top the Wellington Paranormal 'Two Metres Please' song. More useful pandemic advice in three bars of that than in six months worth of Boris Johnson's waffling...

Day #14: Favourite Vampire Character

Colin Robinson. To my shame, I had never really considered the energy vampire trope. What We Do In The Shadows executes it so flawlessly though, and now I can't imagine being without it. That scene where they go to the local council planning meeting so Colin can feed on the boredom of everyone attending... *chef kiss* 

Colin Robinson

Day #15: Favourite Non-Vampire Character

Well, Stu, obviously. But beyond that it has to be Guillermo. He's everything you want in a vampire familiar - desperate to become a vamp without being a total pushover. His character arc is great too, finding out that he's a descendant of Van Helsing and helplessly slaying vampires left, right and centre while still wanting to be one. 

He also owns the kind of knitwear collection most 80s TV hosts could only dream of...

Guillermo de la Cruz

Day #16: Favourite Recurring Character

Officers Minogue and O'Leary - and Sergeant Maaka. :)

Wellington Paranormal

Day #17: Favourite Guest Character

Mark Hamill as Jim the Vampire. I was well proud of myself for working out it was Mark Hamill all by myself too, lol. Seriously, I am notoriously bad at recognising actors in other roles - I'd be the only person in the world shocked by the Superman to Clark Kent transformation - so I was chuffed to recognise Hamill, Hayley Joel Osment, Benedict Wong, and Lucy Punch this season alone. 

On the other hand, I had no idea Kayvan Novak wasn't American until I read his Wikipedia page to write this post and realised I'd actually seen the bulk of his filmography...

Jim the Vampire

Day #18: Character You Love To Hate

The Nadja doll. It's just not as creepy as it could be - as a doll person and horror geek that lost opportunity kind of pains me.

Nadja Doll

Day #19: Favourite Location

The franchise has some wonderful sets - the room of doors in S2:Ep9, for instance. But for sheer tragicomedy value it's got to be the nightclub in Interviews With Some Vampires.

Interviews with some Vampires

Day #20: Favourite Cast Photo

This one from Comic Con 2019 is really cute, and I totally love all the colourful fashion choices going on.

Favourite Cast Photo

Day #21: Canon OTP

Viago and Katherine. ♥

"Some people freak out a bit about the age difference. They think, 'what's this 96-year-old lady doing with a guy four times her age?' And you know, I don't care. They can call me cradle snatcher, who cares?"

I dunno, that quote never fails to make me smile. It's so sweet and a refreshing twist on the way the age gaps are usually treated in vampire fandoms - aka, fine so long as both partners look young and beautiful...

Viago and Katherine

Day #22: Fanon Almost Canon OTP

Nandor and Guillermo. 

Just look at this pair of adorable idiots. ♥

Nandor and Guillermo

Day #23: Favourite Promo

Dating 101 with Viago.

Day #24: Coolest Effect

Ghost cup! (Shhh. We don't want to hurt Viago's feelings.)

Viago and Ghost Cup

Day #25: Best Fandom Merchandise

I haven't really seen any beyond t-shirts and badges, but I hope someone like NECA picks up the licence. Imagine a Viago figure with a little tiny ghost cup. Or Nandor complete with his handmade glitter portrait. :D Also 1/6 scale dolls, because I've never been in a fandom where I didn't want 1/6 scale dolls.

In the meantime I saw the world's best (worst?) leggings on Etsy:

Colin Robinson Leggings

Day #26: Favourite Fanvid

There hardly seems to be any. :( But someone has done the obligatory Friends intro at least -

Day #27: Favourite Prop

"I have recently rediscovered my love for topiary sculpture; the art of bush manipulation."

What We Do In The Shadows Topiary

Day #28: Best Take On Vampire Lore

I really like the extensive network of vampire only events and get togethers. It reminded me of CBBC show Young Dracula in that way, with all their (extremely uncool) vampire publications, exam systems, and High Council. That all kind of culminates in the Procession of Shame. It speaks of organised vampire culture - and how utterly naff it truly is.

What We Do In The Shadows Procession of Shame

Day #29: Predictions For The Future?

Hmm, I hope they get around to the werewolves film. And we can't have seen the last of Sam the cat familiar, right?? 

Werewolves not Swearwolves - UnicornEmpirePrints

Day #30: If You Like This, Try...

For the surreal elements, it made me think of The Mighty Boosh (2004), Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (2004), and my all time favourite all but forgotten sitcom, TLC (2002).

TLC Tv Show

#01 - First Encounter With This Series
#02 - The Moment You Fell In Love With This Series
#03 - Favourite Franchise Entry
#04 - Favourite Eeveelution
#05 - If You Were In Charge...
#06 - Funniest Moment
#07 - Scariest Moment
#08 - Saddest Moment
#09 - Coolest Character Design
#10 - Favourite Quote
#11 - Best Costume
#12 - Petyr or Baron Afanas?
#13 - Best Song
#14 - Favourite Vampire Character
#15 - Favourite Non-Vampire Character
#16 - Favourite Recurring Character
#17 - Favourite Guest Character
#18 - Character You Love To Hate
#19 - Favourite Location
#20 - Favourite Cast Photo
#21 - Canon OTP
#22 - Fanon OTP
#23 - Favourite Promo
#24 - Coolest Effect
#25 - Best Fandom Merchandise
#26 - Favourite Fanvid
#27 - Favourite Prop
#28 - Best Take On Vampire Lore
#29 - Predictions For The Future?
#30 - If You Like This, Try...

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Friday, 18 September 2020

Friday Five: Fan Films

Friday Five

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so they say, and some fans are really willing to put their time, energy and money where their mouth is. Because what unites fan films of all lengths, formats and levels of professionalism is the fact they are true labours of love. Here are five of my favourites. <3

Patent Pending - Mario and the Brick Breakers

#5. Hey Mario

One of my all time favourite bands, Patent Pending, rebranded themselves as 'Mario and the Brick Breakers' to release a whole album and accompanying mockumentary re-imagining Mario as a rock star.  You can see the whole thing on YouTube, or the title track Hey Mario in the embed below.

"Mario, get your sh*t together bro;
You've got to know this princess isn't worth these extra lives;
Just let her go (go), Mario, you're a next level bro;
But the Peach been cheating and you know I ain't talking code."

Mission to the Unknown Dr Who Fan Film

#4. Mission to the Unknown

Dr. Who is the kind of franchise that was made for expanded universe and the sheer amount of content, both official and fan, created for it has to be seen to be believed. Even so, Mission to the Unknown, a BBC approved recreation of the original 1965 episode - now lost - by staff and students at the University of Central Lancashire is something special. The set and costumes are spot on, and Marco Simioni puts in a pitch perfect turn as a stoic 60s hero. YouTube has both the recreation and a documentary about its making.

Darth Maul Apprentice Fan Film

#3. Darth Maul: Apprentice

Darth Maul: Apprentice is a short Star Wars fan film from 2016. The Maul make-up is amazing, the lightsaber choreography is awesome, and the whole thing is just incredibly well put together. It also succeeded in making me care more about a bunch of unnamed Jedi in 18 minutes than the new trilogy managed for, well, anyone across multiple hours I'll never get back. Watch it on YouTube.

Epic Rap Battles of History Joker vs Pennywise

#2. Joker vs Pennywise

Do music videos count as fan films? Well, they're gonna for the purpose of this list, okay! Because Epic Rap Battles of History churn out loads of great content, but their Joker vs Pennywise vid is just next level. Every second is perfection.

Detroit Evolution Detroit Become Human Fan Film

#1. Detroit Evolution

Detroit: Become Human is a 2018 video game from Quantic Dream which follows androids who break their programming to become 'deviant'. In one of the many (many) alternate endings the police android is replaced by an upgraded model - and fandom ran with that few seconds of game footage to create a ship featuring RK900 and one of the game's antagonists, Detective Gavin Reed. 

That makes this 75 minute fan film notable in lots of ways - it's a crowdfunded gay romance cyberpunk thriller based on a relationship that has only ever existed in the collective fannish consciousness. For me it was equal parts wonderful and weird to watch; when I got into the fandom the 'go to' ship dynamics were a lot harsher and aggressive with RK900 being quite sadistic. That's so not my jam, and I was psyched that by the time I moved on it had changed to something much softer.

So in a strange way the film felt, I don't know, personal. I'd played my own little part in creating the tropes that were now being acted out so well on screen. How cool is that? But even if I hadn't, I'd still have enjoyed the movie. Sure, it's not perfect. The whodunnit aspect is obvious from the go but that was never a disadvantage to Columbo and it isn't to this either. The fight choreography isn't great, but then again it often isn't even in big budget stuff which takes months to film. The scripting, acting and editing are genuinely impressive, and the filming is super professional. It's everything you could want a big screen fanfic adaption to be, honestly.

Do you have a favourite fan film? Let me know in the comments! :)

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Thursday, 17 September 2020

Hits of 2004

What I'm Listening To

For 2020 I decided that I'd do a monthly 'what I'm listening to' feature based on my favourite songs from a particular year. I finished school in 2004, so here are the ten tracks which always take me right back.

Dragostea Din Tei - O-Zone

I'm not even exaggerating when I say O-Zone changed my life. It was a new hobby of mine by '04 to look up the top tens of countries with easy to access websites to find new music to illegally download and try out. (YouTube was still a year away from launching.) Moldovan boyband O-Zone were huge everywhere in the summer of 2004, making it to the top ten across Europe, and yet finding any English language coverage was almost impossible.

In the end I downloaded their entire back catalogue (painfully slowly) on Limewire, swapped for a bunch of Russian and German teen magazines via penpalling exchanges, and learned a bit of Romanian to translate the lyrics of my favourite songs... (Numai Tu / Only You ♥️) Kids today don't know they're born when they get out their smartphones and tweet their K-pop idols or whatever! ;)

Cha Cha Slide - DJ Casper

Originally released in August 2000, the song made its way around the charts of the world before scoring a #1 hit in the UK in 2004. If you went to a party that year, you can be sure you did the Cha Cha Slide at some point!

Call on Me - Eric Prydz

If you didn't like the song, you still loved the video! Call on Me, a dance cover of Steve Winwood's 1982 hit Valerie, was a huge hit all across Europe and beyond.

Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do - Goldie Lookin' Chain

Peaking at #3 in August 2004, Guns Don't Kill People was not only great fun, it was by a band that in true South Wales style only ever had one degree of separation from anyone you knew. (Not surprising when you consider Goldie Lookin' Chain's recent release, Which One Of You Is From Cwmbran?)

F.U.R.B. - Frankee

Early in the year Eamon had a huge hit with F**k It (I Don't Want You Back), and within a few months Frankee released F.U.R.B. (F U Right Back) claiming to be Eamon's estranged girlfriend. Patently untrue as it might have been, the British teen media lapped it up, securing Frankee a #1 hit and a whole bunch of spoof covers.

Yeah! - Usher ft. Lil Jon and Ludacris

#1 hit that was completely unavoidable in '04.

Ministry of Mayhem- The Noise Next Door

I was definitely too old to be watching Ministry of Mayhem when it started in 2004. It didn't stop me. The Noise Next Door released the theme tune as a B-side to Lock Up Ya Daughters, peaking at #12.

Try - Nelly Furtado

Still my favourite Nelly Furtado track, it made it to #15 but was and is criminally underrated.

King of the Dancehall - Beenie Man

I don't think I'd ever really encountered dancehall before this came out - unless Sean Paul counts - but this #14 hit had me converted.

Baby Cakes - 3 of a Kind

It might be a one hit wonder, but going straight in at #1 is still pretty impressive!

What was your favourite hit of 2004? Let me know in the comments. :)

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What I'm Listening To

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Mini Mart: Gyorgi Handmade Shop

Gyorgi Handmade Shop Bedding

Supplier: Gyordi Handmade Shop
Website: Etsy Store  | eBay Shop


This Norwich based family business specialises in 1/6 scale wooden furniture - including more unusual stuff like bathrooms and exercise equipment - and bedding sets. I had good intentions to make my own bedding but... well, I was just lazy. I saw this super cute set listed on eBay for £10.99 and, seeing as I'd just sold some unwanted doll clothing, went for the easy option.

I think it's a pretty good match for the purple wallpaper and has lots of cute details I wouldn't have got around to. (As this photo shows I still need to put drawer handles on...)

Gyorgihandmadeshop on Etsy

Post and Packing:  £2.90

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Mini Mart - Reviews of Dolls and Scale Miniatures

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